The Legacy of OR-7
OR-7 Remote camera photo taken on May 3, 2014 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
OR-7 captured the hearts of millions. He is the ambassador of wolf recovery in California. Born of the Imnaha pack in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon in 2009, the young wolf was caught and fitted with a GPS collar in 2011 and soon set out to find a territory of his own. He was the first confirmed gray wolf in the golden state in nearly a century and has since sired many of the wolves that have traveled to California.
For three years he traversed thousands of miles between the two states, as many watched his epic journey, which he was affectionately named. Alas, in 2014, Journey met his mate and by spring they had pups in the Rogue River- Siskiyou National Forest. Settling down in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, the Rogue Pack had multiple litters.
California’s Lassen Pack alpha male, CA08M, is the son of OR-7. The pack has had three litters and at least 12 pups since 2017. The presence of CA08M has not been confirmed since spring 2019, and in late spring the breeding female was detected with a black male wolf.
CA10F, a female gray wolf, left tracks and scat in Siskiyou County in 2017. Genetic testing determined she was born into the Rogue pack in 2014 and a littermate to CA08M. Her current whereabouts are unknown.
Photo of OR-54 when she was 1.5 years old. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
OR-54, Journeys daughter born in 2016, searched over 8,000 miles to find a mate. She spent two summers in Sierra County, traveled all the way down to Lake Tahoe and even stepped into Nevada before she was found dead in Shasta County in February of this year. Her death is under investigation but hopefully her siblings, wherever they all may be, share the same tenacity.
This spring there is no evidence of Rogue Pack pups and there was no sighting of OR-7 in the winter count, although his pack remains. His collar stopped working five years ago so there is no way to trace his location. He may still be alive, as many wolves will leave their pack at the end of their days to go it alone. However, 11 years old is a long life for a gray wolf as the life expectancy is 6-8 years. Either way, OR-7 is an icon and his legacy will live on.